Here is an interesting study in contrasts within the work of an artist that, to my eye, seems to be reaping the rewards of taking on the practice of daily painting, in terms of growth as an artist and noticeable increase in skill and confidence.
Michael Naples has been doing portraits in graphite for ten years. In August of last year he started a regimen of a drawing a day, and initiated a corresponding blog. A month later, you can see apparent marked increase in control and technique between two drawings of a similar subject (August & September).
A few days later he has switched from a drawing a day to a painting a day and, as you scroll up the page (the blog is entirely displayed on one page, convenient once it’s loaded, but perhaps problematic as it grows), you can see a progression into stronger contrasts, bolder colors and more confident paint handling.
His daily paintings quickly become much more interesting, for me at least, than his more practiced portrait drawings. Though his portrait drawings are certainly competently rendered, they seem to be restrained the same limitations that often characterize portraits drawn from photographs: a vague softness, limited tonal range, and lack of defining line or strong chiaroscuro to give them the “punch” that a life drawing might have, uninhibited by the requirement of pleasing the subject with the result.
Naples’ current paintings from life, however, exhibit the opposite characteristics: bold compositions, bright energetic color, strong value contrasts and an overall confidence and enthusiasm that almost seem like the work of a different artist.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, interpreting an artist’s development from a series of blog posts, but I think you can see him progress through stages of experimentation, different approaches in brush handling, palette and composition and see a real progression in terms of his control of color, composition, value and command of the materials.
In Naples’ most recent work he has tended to frame simple subjects with warm, dark backgrounds, pushing them forward and modeling them with bold, lively brushstrokes and rich colors. Many of them exhibit a maturity as a painter that belie the short time since he undertook the daily painting routine to “get back into the groove of painting”.
You will also find his work on a daily painters group site, Daily Paintworks, which appears to be one of the stronger of the recent daily painter community sites. The site itself is new to me, but it seems I’ve written posts on all but two of the 12 current members.
8 Replies to “Michael Naples”
Congrats Michael, you are my favorite artist! You’re persimmons are fantastic!
My collection of Michael Naples work grows steadily as his talent does. Looking forward to seeing what he produces in the next 12 months.
Of course my favorite is 2’O-clock coffee. Thanks Mike, you’re the best!
Mike is a fabulous artist, and he also has the discipline to see things through. “A Painting A Day” is no small accomplishment; finding the time to devote to the goal is an accomplishment within itself!
Congratulations Mike! You finished another marathon.
We have seen you grow from a little boy doing cute silly drawings to a fine artist. We listened and watched as you decided what college to go to and what career path you would follow. Obviously you made the right choice. Your dedication and willingness to grow and improve has made you what you are today. This is part of your character. We know that you will succeed, never give up. Keep learning and growing. Hard work does pay off! This is only the beginning of a wonderful life….plus you have a wonderful wife, and family to share it with. With much love and pride…..
Mike, you totally had me with your beautifully done paintings…you are a wonderful artist and I have not tired yet from looking at your paintings. Thanks for the inspiration. April
Mike’s work is fabulous. I like his work a great deal and the work of Darren Maurer. http://www.miniaturemasterpieces.blogspot.com The work has similar qualities to it. Although Maurer has been daily painting for quite sometime longer than Mike has. Maurer’s closely cropped images and genius level of compositions make his paintings pure brillient and he is one of the pioneers of this trend. Keep them coming Mike and Darren!!!
I have been following Michael Naples’s career and as an avid art lover, I can tell you, hold on to his paintings, and you will be very glad
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